Monday, 30 July 2018

IEA: A dagger in the soft underbelly of democracy


So what does the IEA tapes scandal tell us about Brexit, specifically the ERG? Well this goes right back and it touches on the TPA and Vote Leave Ltd. It's all the same Toryboy clique...

As ye should know by now the TPA isn't actually a think tank or a tax watchdog. It was set up by one Matthew Elliott as a fundraising sock puppet. That's why Elliott was made Vote Leave boss. He's good at shaking down old Tory money.

And wherever Elliott goes, the same handful of stooges go with him along with half a dozen Toryboy teenagers (see Bennett, Grimes, et al). Elliott likes his young Toryboys. There's a good living to be made running sock puppets. BrexitCentral being the latest iteration.

Many of these sock puppets are based out of Tufton Street. The offices of 55 Tufton Street in Westminster are home to no fewer than eight right-of-centre organisations including Vote Leave and the TPA. Also Hannan's failed enterprise.

There's a revolving door for these groups which is why Darren Grimes is now at the IEA. An old boys network - and Toryboys look after their own. Whenever an MP needs to look like they have prestige they set up a Tufton Street sockpuppet. That's what Owen Paterson's think tank was along with Steve Baker's Cobden Centre, which he co-founded.

Add the IEA - which is just around the corner in Lord North Street - and the outliers and you have a sprawling addition to the Westminster bubble. They attract hangers-on like the Freedom Association and, one-man-and-a-dog outfits like the Bruges Group, which is little more than a PO box. They speak with a single voice because the money only flows if you sing their tune and promote their stuff.

They always intended to be in pole position if ever a referendum was called and so hijacking the Brexit agenda was quite easy for them. The IEA is basically the mothership - backed by Lawson and others and it goes hand in hand with the ERG.

Toryboys, however, are a treacherous greedy species. That's why Elliott and co decamped to The Legatum Institute when it looked like its sponsor was throwing money at it. This is when we started to learn more about Shanker "snake oil" Singham.

And though various hacks take the credit for it, eureferendum.com was the first to have a proper nosey. It was easy to see the disaster capitalism agenda at work. That then snowballed and we started to see a lot of negative press about Legatum - which they didn't want which is why Legatum dumped its entire Brexit team. And where else would the dross end up? Right into the IEA sewer.

Being that the IEA had no trade expertise of its own and no clue as to how to even approach the subject, they viewed Singham as their star signing, despite his reputation already having been tarnished as someone who knows bugger all about trade.

But then he isn't actually in the business of getting it right. He just tells Tories what they want to hear. Being that Steve Baker and IEA Toryboys think he's the dogs unmentionables, they gave him direct access to DExEU. While Baker was there it was an extension of the IEA.

And this explains the hostility to the EEA option. The smartest way to leave the EU. This also explains the damascene conversion of the Bruges Group and Owen Paterson to the WTO option cause. It coincided with Singham's arrival on the scene.

You see, if we maintain regulatory harmonisation with the EU and we don't have the ability to diverge on standards then DExEU Ltd (subsidiary of IEA) can't sell UK trade policy to the highest bidder. Enter the girlies...

This is where you need a slick PR team softening up the public and manipulating Brexiter sentiment. This is why they hire presentable but ever so slightly dim dollybirds like Low Fact Chloe, Hugh Bennett and Kate Andrews. This is combined with the efforts of BrexitCentral.

This puts a presentable front on what is essentially a corporate heist. This is why they keep their output on a very superficial level, belching out all the "respect the will of the people" toss. Their ability to evade substance is actually quite admirable.

They have managed to weave a narrative that the harder the Brexit, the more it respects the vote. And being that Torykip tend to be grunting bigots who can't be told anything, the IEA have essentially enlisted an army of eager retweeters to do their propaganda bidding.

The short of it is these people don't give a toss about Brexit or democracy. Brexit is just a vehicle to exploit and a window of opportunity to make a lot of money. It's a cosy living and it carries prestige within the bubble.

There should be more scrutiny of this little network but the senior staffers of the Telegraph and Spectator are all in some way related to Vote Leave/IEA people and their bullshit suits that of the Speccie and Barclay Beano. Staunch free market dogma.

What has given them a free pass is the shrill tinfoil hattery of Carole Cadwalladr whose splattergun hackery has eroded the believability of much of the story and made it synonymous with the continuity remain campaign seeking to "undermine democracy".

Being that the debate has polarised and has become massively more tribal, we even find Brexiters throwing money at Elliott to bail out his fall guy Grimes. Anti-establishment Brexiters chucking money at the Tory establishment to bail them out while grunting "drain the swamp". Go figure.

As it happens I don't think the VL accounts fiddling is much to write home about. The only difference between leave/remain is remain didn't get caught because nobody bothered to look. The real scandal is the IEA acting as a broker to sell UK trade policy to the highest bidder.

And you know what? The latest revelations, I bet, are only the tip of the iceberg. I strongly suspect the IEA is taking money from the palm oil lobby and others have suggested big tobacco and private health. It's a sordid den of thieves. Ironic that the IEA is the home of libertarian minarchists who have decried crony capitalism for years - and now it turns out the IEA is the living embodiment of it - and the worst offender in Westminster.

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